If you plan to purchase a professional video camera for business or to make your big movie, there are certain features that you should look for. These manual features and accessories will give you greater control over the footage that you shoot, and improve your video taping capabilities.
The following are 10 features that are essential in any professional video camera
1. Manual Focus
Camcorders using automatic focus have a tendency to drift in and out of focus, adjusting the focus to different elements of the scene. With manual focus, you can choose what to focus on, and ensure that the camcorder's focus stays locked in.
Furthermore, manual focus allows you to get creative, complex shots, like rack focus, which are impossible with an auto-focus camcorder.
2. Manual Iris
The ability to manually adjust the iris allows you to make sure that your scene is always exposed correctly. Have you ever shot video of someone standing in front of a window, and the subject appeared in silhouette while the scene out the window was correctly exposed? With a manual iris you could adjust the exposure to correctly light your subject.
3. White Balance
Different types of light have different color wavelengths - sunshine is toward the blue end of the spectrum, while indoor light bulbs give off very yellow light.
Cameras with auto white balance automatically adjust to these lighting differences, making everything look "normal." However, in mixed light situations, such as when you have light from indoor lamps and sunlight from a window in the same scene, auto white balance has a hard time adjusting to make the lighting look right.
With manual white balance, you can control the colors being recorded and get better looking video in any lighting situation.
4. 3 CCDs
CCDs are the chips inside your camera that translate the real world into a digital image. 3-chip camcorders record higher quality video with better crispness and color saturation, and they are the standard for professional-quality video cameras.
5. Headphone Jack
Unfortunately, not all camcorders come with a place to plug in headphones. Without this, you have no way of monitoring the sound that's being recorded.
6. Sound Control
The ability to manually control the volume of the audio being recorded is essential in a professional video production. If the camera controls this automatically, you may end up with background noise that's too loud, or unnatural sound quality.
7. Audio Inputs
Look for a camcorder that offers an input so you can plug in an external microphone. The microphones built in to camcorders are generally low quality, and you'll want to be able to use a separate, external microphone if you really care about the quality of the audio you record.
8. Filter Ring
Look for a video camera that has a screw ring around the lens where you can add a filter. A general UV filter is great for protecting the lens from scratches, and specialized filters, like "polarizing" or "star," will adjust and enhance the look of the recorded footage.
9. Lens Adapters
Only the highest-end video cameras have removable lenses. But, on many mid-range models you can use lens adapters, which allow you to record wide angle or telephoto images. Check the manufacturer's web site to see if there are any lens adapters available for the camera you're considering purchasing.
10. A Little Bit of Auto
Manual features allow you greater creativity and control over your video camera. However, they also mean that you need to put more work, time and concentration into every video shoot. Having the option to let the camera automatically control focus, sound or exposure can come in handy in some situations, such as when you need to begin recording immediately, or if you haven't yet mastered all of the manual controls.
Ideally, you should look for a professional video camera that gives you full manual control, but also the option to switch to "auto mode."